Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Social Music Objects

What is it?
SMOs are musical objects which enable new ways of interacting with digital music. In the world of the near future, where our digital life resides completely in the “cloud”, we theorize that hard drives will become obsolete and all we’ll be carrying are interactive ID cards, representing not our physical selves, but our segmented digital selves. An SMO thus represents my “music self”.
Those objects can bring social media to the table, literally.


At first SMOs eliminate and hide all technology aspects, there are no itunes playlists, nor opening application such as Winamp.
They do so by simply playing music once you interact with them (usually by laying the objects on a small surface or table).
At first, the interface seems minimal and limited to a single action of playing a specific playlist. Still, complex interactions are hidden within the possibilities this system can provide.
For example: by placing two different objects representing two different genres, the current playlist will be a mix of the two genres. Furthermore, one can control “how much” each genre is dominating the current play list – simply by rotating the object.
This allows great level of diversity in managing and playing music in the home environment, and even more on the social aspect, once other people are present. They may use their own objects representing their musical taste and by that a new social interaction emerge as two (or more) people mix their musical taste in a most intuitive and simple way.


Scenario1: coming home / individual use
Viviana comes home after a long working day, wanting to relax – she decides to put on some music. Opposing to the long and wearing process of approaching the computer, lunching the music software and selecting a playlist – she simply throws a music object on the table, that initiate the music.
In our scenario Viviana uses a dice with 6 different sides, each side represent a music genre. That said, one of the of the dice faces is heavier than the others, so that when Viviana throws the dice, there is a higher probability that it will fall on the heavier face (her preferred music genre). The other faces correspond to other genres – thus providing randomness. At the same this Viviana can select a specific genre, simply buy placing the dice on the corresponded dice face.

Scenario 2: Having a guest / social aspect
As guests arrives, they can use the current music object laying on the table, or other musical objects, either one from Viviana house, or ones they carry with them, assuming they have the same system at home. By adding other musical objects that correlate to other playlists, the music is a mix representing the users preferred music for the moment. The system is connected to both itunes-like music players, and/or online music tools such as last.fm.

Is it visible?
Well, yes, it is present and easily available, we actually had a prototype of the system running and you can have one as well – follow our HOWTO [LINK] guide

Navid, Viviana, Matteo, Marcello, Aidka
First Song: Flyswatter, by Eels
Second Song: Still got the Blues, by Gary moore

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